How to Reduce the Environmental Impact and Create an Eco Friendly Fire Pit
By Pia De Los Reyes
On a cool evening, who doesn’t love cozying up next to a warm, blazing fire surrounded by friends and family? Relaxing under a star-filled sky while you enjoy your outdoor fire pit is a real treat, but it’s important to acknowledge the impact that it has on the Earth.
Like any source of combustion, burning a fire in your outdoor fire pit produces pollutants, greenhouse gasses, and smoke. Greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming and pollutants like ash and smoke can have negative impacts for your health and the environment.
If you want to keep enjoying your outdoor fire pit but also want to be a bit more eco-conscious at home, it’s useful to know about a few best practices that will help you reduce your environmental impact. Try out the following tips to lessen the amount of smoke, pollutants, greenhouse gasses, and toxins you release with every recreational fire. Don’t forget to always extinguish your fire pit when you’re done so that you don’t start any accidental house or wildfires.
5 Tips For An Eco Friendly Fire Pit
- Use Alternative Eco Fuels
Research has found that wood smoke is not only bad for the environment but is also bad for your health. While the smell of a smoky fire may be pleasing and evoke feelings of nostalgia, it’s still harmful for your body. Burning wood emits particle pollution into the air, and this pollution can be especially harmful for individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Using eco fuels as an alternative to burning regular wood limits the number of pollutants and smoke released into the air. Fuels like recycled wood and coffee ground logs produce a cleaner burn because they burn at a hotter, more consistent temperature. This type of burn has the ability to be carbon neutral and also produces less smoke and ash.
Not to mention, they’re more sustainable because they recycle materials like used coffee grounds and wood waste so they can be used again. By using these eco-friendly fuel options, you can cut back on your carbon footprint, improve your health, and help build a healthy, sustainable community.
- Burn Only Seasoned Wood
If you’re unfamiliar with seasoned versus unseasoned wood, learning the differences will help you make a more eco-friendly fuel choice. Unseasoned wood is not adequately dried out, and it’s harder to burn because the moisture content makes it difficult to light and keep it lit. Burning wetter wood also results in much more smoke and this smoke contains carcinogens like creosote.
Using seasoned wood or properly dried wood is much better for the environment as it produces a much hotter and cleaner burn with less smoke. It is also lighter in weight and splits easier than unseasoned wood. Overall, it’s a much better option to use your home fire pit because it allows you to enjoy a fire with less harm to you and the Earth.
- Cut Back on Fuel
Another way to reduce your fire pit’s impact is to cut back on the amount of fuel you burn. While we all want to get a blazing fire going to keep cozy with our loved ones, it’s important to not overdo it with the amount of logs you add. With each log that burns, combustion releases greenhouse gasses and pollutants, so lessening the amount of logs you burn also reduces your carbon footprint.
To cut back on your fuel usage, make sure to watch your fire closely and add logs sparingly. Fires will grow slowly and adding logs on too soon may cause them to flare up suddenly. This is bad for the amount of pollutants released, but can also be dangerous for bystanders who could get burned or injured if the fire gets out of control. Stay in control of the fire and watch and wait before adding more fuel.
- Keep the Temperature Hot and Consistent
When you keep a consistent, hot temperature going in your fire, more of the toxins in your wood are successfully broken down. The high heat allows unhealthy materials to get turned into simpler and safer materials that have less of an impact on the environment.
Remember to practice good fire safety around hot fires, especially if children or pets are running around. About 50% of all pediatric burn injuries from outdoor fires come from fire pits, bonfires, or campfires, so keep a watchful eye or use a spark screen to protect anyone from touching the fire.
- Always Put Your Fire Out
When you‘ve decided that you’re done with your fire, make sure you take care to properly put it out. Give the fire a bit of time to burn down before you try to extinguish it. A good rule of thumb is to stop adding fuel and then wait 30-45 minutes for it to burn down. Once you’ve noticed that the fire has turned to ash or is almost gone, you can put it out using water or sand.
Make sure you check that everything is adequately extinguished before you leave your pit. It’s important to inspect your surroundings for fallen ash, sparks, or embers that could end up causing an accidental house fire or even a dangerous wildfire. Having your recreational fire turn into an emergency could jeopardize your safety and that of the surrounding environment, so make sure to always properly put your fire out when you’re done with it.
Final Thoughts on Running An Eco Friendly Fire Pit
Staying environmentally conscious while you enjoy an outdoor fire pit will help you reduce any negative impacts you may have on the Earth. By trying out these simple tips, you can make a difference one outdoor fire at a time. Whether you switch to environmentally friendly fuels or choose to burn less wood, you can have peace of mind that a little family fun in the yard is also doing right by the Earth.
Living green and protecting the environment doesn’t mean you have to give up activities that you love. For more eco-friendly ways to enjoy a fire pit at home, check out this infographic courtesy of The Zebra.
About the Author
Pia De Los Reyes
Pia is a writer and content marketer with an M.A. in Communication. She specializes in writing for the lifestyle, insurance, technology, and personal finance industries, but has a passion for helping the Earth whenever she can. Through her writing, she aims to inform and inspire everyday audiences to make the best choices for themselves and the environment.